Copenhagen grows on me every time I go there. Lately it’s been about Nordic cuisine offered by a highly acclaimed dining scene in the underrated capital. I went to Fiskebaren and Restaurant BROR last month, both affordable and casual restaurants that highlight Nordic cuisine using local produce. This time the evening was dedicated to Geranium, one of two restaurants in Copenhagen with two Michelin stars. It finally gained the much deserved second star earlier this year. The duo running the restaurant are Rasmus Kofoed and Søren Ledet. Rasmus heads the kitchen where the three Bocuse d’Or statues he won in bronze (2005), silver (2007) and gold (2011) are standing in the back overlooking the kitchen activity. Søren is the restaurant manager but had a long career in the kitchen before shifting to the Front of House. We got to meet both gentlemen during the meal when they helped presenting some of the dishes.
The restaurant is located on the top floor of Parken Stadium Northeast of central Copenhagen. The elevator took us straight into the peaceful restaurant reception on the 8th floor where we were greeted and shown to our table. We sat down at a table in front of the transparent kitchen where the chefs were already in full action. The modern sleek dining room in monochrome tones warmed up by the lights was no doubt flirting with Scandinavian style although there was something more Continental to the style. Each of the 9-10 round tables was surrounded by grey Charles Eames Organic chairs.
The surprisingly young team on the floor wore all black and were very approachable. During the meal both chefs and waiters helped presenting and serving the food. It’s always nice to get geeky details from the chefs when they explain the food. Service was smooth and well paced.
For dinner there is only one option: the Universe Tasting Menu. With that you can choose to have a Juice or Wine Pairing menu. I went for the wine pairing menu which was based on whites only except for one beer and one red wine. The wine pairings never leave Europe with a mix of France, Italy and Germany wines (ok, there was one Danish beer).
Universe Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings
Branches of Sea Salted Cheese
Carrot & Sea Buckthorn
Jerusalem Artichoke & Walnut
Peas & Gooseberries
Dried Flowers & Dried Apple
Cep Soup & Pickled Egg Yolk
Salted Beef & Dried Beetroot
Celeriac Chips with Seaweed Salt
2010 Orthogneiss, Muscadet, Domaine De L’Ecu, Loire
Jellied Ham & Tomato Water
2011 Weingut Stein, Riesling Alfer Hölle, Mosel
“Dillstone”, Horseradish & Frozen Pickled Cucumber
(Beer) Kølster, Højsommer, Humlebæk
Bitter Lettuce & Smoked Cream Cheese
2011 O Mon Pais, La Sorga, Languedoc
Bread with Emmer & Spelt
Onions, Chamomile & Melted Hay Cheese
2007 Casina Dalgi Ulivi, Filagnotti Gavi, Piemonte
Scallop, Sea Buckthorn & Beach Plants
“Charred Potato”, Smoke Sheep Milk Butter
2011 Domaine de Chassorney, Saint-Romain “Combe Bazin”, Bourgogne
Hake, Söl (Dulse) & Cabbage
2009 Rosso Di Moltalcino, Stella Di Campalto, Tuscany
Chicken, Buttermilk & Juniper
Tea from Heather, Lingonberries & Rose Hip
2010 Le Petit Beaufort Doux, Alice Beaufort, Bourgogne
Sheep Milk Yoghurt & Crispy Beetroots
2011 Weingut Krone, Spätburgunder Weissherbst, Rheingau
“Flora Danica” Rhubarb & Crystallized Thyme
The meal started with some “snacks”. I quote snacks because they were 8 of them and many were quite elaborate.
First off was salted cheese sticks. The cheese flavour was mild and sticks were soft crunchy.
Three orange balls of sea buckthorn with crispy carrot inside. With a pronounced acidity (a bit like kumquat) these were very refreshing. Although not my favourite it was a palate opener for the coming courses.
Jerusalem Artichoke Sticks had subtle flavours. The mayo had a nice zing to it.
White peas in gooseberry juice. Wonderful flavours. The peas had a mellow sweetness that went very well with the freshness of the juicy. Nice balance of flavours.
Dried apple and flowers. These small packages were light and floral.
Cep mushroom soup with pickled (in wine vinegar) quail egg. I think this was the best among the snacks. The soup had a rich earthy character of mushroom. The egg had an amazing thick creamy texture with a sharp vinegary punch.
The wrinkled chips of beetroot and the dark colours made this dish look very aged. The homemade dried beef was soft and had a nice mellow saltiness.
The last snack we had was celeriac chips with celery and fish roe sauce that was light and sweet.
The first starter of ham gel with tomato liquid was a fragrant and refreshing dish with floral notes. The transparent ham gel in the bottom was a positive surprise of sweet ham flavours.
Razor clams with edible shell. It’s always a delight when razor clams are part of the meal. This time the shell was edible too. The meat was mixed with something citrusy and was quite refreshing. Very nice.
Beautiful was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this. The flavours turned out to match equally well. Inside the dill stones were mackerel. The dip was made of horseradish and cucumber which gave the dish a light wasabi spiciness, short and sharp. This was one of the better dishes. Clever presentation with creative combination of flavours.
The greens came with a frothy sauce with the richness of goat milk cheese. The bitterness of the greens was less noticable together with the sauce.
It’s interesting that they choose to serve bread in the middle of the meal rather than providing it earlier. I wonder whether it’s because of the richness of the butter with garlic sprouts. I really like the size of the bread because it gives a nice ratio between crust and soft bread.
Next came more raw flavours. I’m usually not a big fan of raw onion but the onion pickled in chamomile vinegar was quite nice with the cheese sauce. Compared to the goat milk cheese earlier this one was lighter.
While being very good on its own already it’s always interesting to see what restaurants do with scallop. This one has been lightly smoked and immersed in beach plant oil (if I understood correctly). Then there was the occasional burst of acidity of the few sea buckthorns that were part of the dish.
Like the dillstone dish earlier this resembled more like something from outer space than a natural ingredient sourced nearby. With the potato came a spoon of smoked sheep milk butter topped with cress. The well cooked potato integrated well with the butter and the herbs. Another stunning and well executed dish.
This was a great dish in every aspect. Flavours were light as well as the texture. The crispy fish scales carried a savoury edge and crunch. With it came a buttery mayonnaise sauce. This was one of my favourites across the tasting menu.
The chicken wing was the only meat (not counting the dried beef snack and the seafood) I had this evening. With it also came the only red wine I drank among the wine pairings, an unusually perfumy and fruity Rosso di Montalcino (Stella di Campalto) from 2009. The chicken wing has been deboned, cooked for 1 hour in 67 degrees, then seared and glazed with butter for the crispy fragrant skin. It came with chicken stock reduced with butter milk. I liked everything in this dish, from the choice of cut to wine pairing.
We were invited to the kitchen after the mains for a cup of heather/lingonberry/rose hip tea. The only activity left in the kitchen was the preparation of desserts for the last few tables.
I feel that there’s a conspiracy in the restaurant world going on with all beetroot desserts I’ve seen the past year. With that said I don’t mind seeing more of it though. In this dessert it only had a minor role. The main character was the sheep milk yoghurt which was very good.
The last dessert was a pretty assembly of flowers that hurt to take apart. In terms of flavours I really liked the sauce which was a beech (I think I heard) infused cream with honey. The rhubarb compot carried the underlying acidity. The dessert also had an unexpected touch of thyme.
The cold chocolate eggs carried a pine smell that transitioned into caramel sweetness from inside. A pleasant finish of the meal.
Geranium was excellent in every aspect this evening. The level of detail in the dishes left little to be wishes for and there were some interesting flavour combinations to be found during the meal. The whole tasting menu was fairly light since most of dishes were based on greens and the occasional seafood. Dishes were more about finesse than richness and interesting flavours were achieved using modest ingredients. In this regard Geranium fits well into my perception of New Nordic cuisine.
The wines complemented the dishes well and I discovered a few producers to keep an eye on in the future like Stella Di Campalto. I was surprised to see Danish beer appear but it was a fun combination with the bitter lettuce. It was also interesting to see both wines for dessert being Pinot Noirs, one sparkling rosé and one blanc de noirs.
We spent almost 4 hours this Saturday evening at Geranium. 4 well spent hours I would say considering all aspects mentioned earlier. Geranium is yet another example of what the dining scene in the modest capital has to offer. I’m already looking forward to the next meal in Copenhagen.
For more photos from Geranium, please visit my Flickr set.
Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 8
2100 København Ø
Tel. +45 6996 0020